Sign NDD to Help Stop Cuts

This January, all nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs face indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts of 8.4 percent through a “sequester.” Such cuts will devastate medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; housing and social services; and international relations.

Every local, state, and national organization in the country that cares about funding for any of these core government functions is urged to sign onto this letter—drafted by the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF) and other leaders of national coalitions—urging Congress to avoid the sequester by passing a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does include further cuts to NDD programs.” 

Mental Health America is a member of the Coalition for Health Funding and has advocated for a solution to the nation’s financial woes that would maintain the solvency and leadership of our public health agencies, including SAMHSA.
 

For a copy of the letter, click here.

 To sign the letter, click here by COB June 22, 2012

 

You’ll be asked to provide your organization’s name as you want it listed on the letter, your contact name, contact e-mail, and the type of organization (national, state, local).  Only begin your organization’s name with “The” if you want your organization listed alphabetically under “T.”

 Below we’ve provided answers to FAQs about the sequester, its impact on NDD programs, and the letter to help you understand this effort and build support for the letter within your organization and throughout the community. If you have additional questions, please contact Emily Holubowich, Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding, at eholubowich@dc-crd.com.

 Given the volume of signatures expected across the diverse NDD community, we are unable to accommodate edits to the letter.

 Thank you for your consideration.

 

 NDD Letter FAQs

What is “NDD?”

Discretionary programs differ from “entitlement” programs that are funded rather automatically to meet the needs of all who qualify for them. Discretionary programs are those that Congress funds annually through the appropriations process. Congress retains complete discretion, or choice, on whether, and at what level, to fund discretionary programs.

Nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs are core functions government provides for the benefit of all, including medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Every day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.

What is the sequester?

The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) established caps on discretionary spending over 10 years, resulting in $1 trillion in cuts spread across defense and NDD programs. The law also directed a congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings over ten years. The failure of the bi-partisan “super committee” to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan triggered a “sequester” to take effect on January 2, 2013.

To sequester means to set apart or to take something away until a debt has been repaid. In the context of funding federal programs, sequester means imminent, across-the-board cuts to most programs, both defense and nondefense—in addition to the $1 trillion in cuts already sustained through the Budget Control Act’s discretionary caps.

There are a few discretionary programs that are exempt from the sequester in the first year, such as Pell grants in the Department of Education. Some mandatory programs (e.g., Medicaid) are also exempt from the sequester.

How will the sequester impact nondefense discretionary programs?

 In 2013, the sequester will mean an automatic 8.4 percent cut to program funding levels in 2013 for most NDD programs. These cuts will truly be across-the-board, with no departmental or agency control on how the sequester impacts individual programs.

Is there really any chance Congress will change its mind about the sequester?

Of course there is! There is already a vocal constituency clamoring to exempt defense programs from the sequester’s reach. Of course, removal of only defense programs from the sequester would place additional burden on NDD programs. Leaders of national coalitions and networks who joined together in crafting this letter believe it is critical for Congress to reverse course and work to achieve deficit reduction with a balanced approach that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.

 What can my organization do?

Your organization can sign onto this letter, urging Congress to, “find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.”

 Your organization can also help by sharing this letter with your networks and state/local chapters. All national, state and local organizations are encouraged to sign. The more sign-ons we have, the bigger our impact!

 

For a copy of the letter, click here.

 

To sign the letter, click here.

 

You’ll be asked to provide your organization’s name as you want it listed on the letter, your contact name, contact e-mail, and the type of organization (national, state, local).  Only begin your organization’s name with “The” if you want your organization listed alphabetically under “T.”

 

If you have additional questions, please contact Emily Holubowich, Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding, at eholubowich@dc-crd.com.


Act Now!

ACT NOW! Before it’s too late, take a stand to save community mental health and substance abuse funding!

Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) has introduced an Amendment (A10823) to the State Senate’s budget bill (SB 1466) that restores all of the human services funding cuts recommended by Governor Corbett in connection with his proposed Human Services Block Grant program. DiGirolamo’s amendment also puts these funds back into their original appropriations, thereby blocking the new block grant proposal.

Representative DiGirolamo needs your support and action TODAY! Help him pressure Republican leadership to maintain existing funding levels for community mental health and substance abuse services and stop the Human Services Block Grant!

Timing is critical. It is likely that Senate and House Republican leaders will make a “behind-the-scenes” deal on the budget—among each other—in the next few days and with Governor Corbett next week.

Republican leadership will ask all of the members of its Caucus to withdraw amendments to SB 1466 in favor of an omnibus amendment (one amendment that incorporates any change to the Senate Budget Bill that has been agreed upon via the negotiated deal). If their members do not agree to withdraw amendments, then the House will spend a day or two voting on many amendments to SB 1466—most of which will not pass. They hope to have a final budget in place by June 15.

ACT TODAY to save funding for mental health and substance abuse services:

Contact your House members and ask them to:

  • express their opposition to the block grant and support for maintaining the current mental health and substance abuse funding levels to Representative Bill Adolph, the House Republican Appropriations Chair, and to Representative Mike Turzai, the House Majority Leader.
  • express their opposition to the block grant and support for maintaining the current mental health and substance abuse funding levels in their respective caucus meetings on the budget
  • voice their support, when talking to leadership and within their caucus meetings, for Representative DiGirolamo’s amendment that restores the funding cuts and blocks the block grant.

In addition, please contact Representative DiGirolamo to let him know how much we appreciate his ongoing support. You can contact him at:

Honorable Gene DiGirolamo
Chairman, House Human Services Committee
49 East Wing
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 783-7319
Fax: (717) 772-2414

gdigirol@pahousegop.com

Hon. Gene DiGirolamo
2424 Bristol Road
Neshaminy Valley Commons
Bensalem, PA 19020-6002
(215) 750-1017
Fax: (215) 750-1295

PCPA Legislative Alert: DiGirolamo Budget Amendments

Contact Legislators Monday to Vote “Yes” on DiGirolamo Budget Amendments!
Representative Gene DiGirolamo is introducing two amendments to Governor Corbett’s proposed budget, one which stops the block grant and a second which restores the human services funding cut still remaining after the Senate budget proposal, Senate Bill 1477, restored half. It is likely the amendments will be voted on June 5 (during PCPA Capitol Day)! It is crucial that every legislator in Pennsylvania be called or emailed on Monday to ask them to vote “YES” on the DiGirolamo amendments. More information will be shared when available. Further questions may be addressed to Anne Leisure (anne@paproviders.org).
_____________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2012 – Pennsylvania Community Providers Association
2101 N Front St, Bldg 3, Ste 200, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-364-3280 – Fax: 717-364-3287
www.paproviders.org

PCPA Legislative Alert: Prime Time for Visits to County Commissioners!

Prime Time for Visits to County Commissioners!
The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) have issued an update on negotiationsconcerning the proposed Human Services Development Block Grant. Key points in the document follow.
 

  • The block grant will combine appropriations and allocate them to counties proportionately, based on the current aggregate distributions. A phase-in period will be implemented. In the first year (2012/13) counties will be required to spend 50 percent of funding within the current categorical allocations. In the second year (2013/14) counties will be required to spend 25 percent of funding within the current categorical allocations. By 2014/15, counties will be granted full flexibility. Counties may continue funding in the current categorical line items if preferred. Counties interested in moving to full flexibility immediately may apply for a waiver to do so.
  • Counties will be able to continue to operate existing joinder arrangements and can create new joinders if desired.
  • Counties will pay the amount of match paid by the county in fiscal year 2009/10 until final fiscal year 2010/11 match information is available. DPW will make adjustments at the close of fiscal year 2012/13.
  • Counties will be allowed to retain up to three percent of fiscal year 2011/12 carryover funds for reinvestment in human services and will be able to request a waiver to retain additional funds. Counties will need to submit a reinvestment plan.
  • A new streamlined reporting document will be used that replaces current fiscal reporting associated with the categorical programs.
  • DPW will require annual plans of how counties propose to use block grant dollars.
  • Outcomes measures will be built into the block grant proposal to ensure needs are being met.  

A number of county commissioners have reviewed provisions of the block grant and expressed strong concerns related to the impact on the safety net infrastructure. PCPA appreciates the thoughtful input of these commissioners and urges members to communicate with county commissioners as soon as possibleto convey the crucial importance of maintaining an intact safety net. A Talking Points document for visits to county commissioners is available. Contact information for commissioners can be found through the CCAP web site, which contains links to each county.
 
If services to Pennsylvanians in need of mental health, intellectual disability, autism, or addiction care are to remain accessible and effective, funding must be preserved and Pennsylvania’s safety net must be protected. To fight the devastation of Pennsylvania’s community services, members are urged to take action to visit county commissioners NOW. Further questions may be addressed to Anne Leisure (anne@paproviders.org). 
  

_____________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2012 – Pennsylvania Community Providers Association
2101 N Front St, Bldg 3, Ste 200, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-364-3280 – Fax: 717-364-3287

www.paproviders.org

PMHCA Upcoming Rallies

Reposted information from email via pmhca.org.
 

Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association 
 
Upcoming Rallies to Stop the Proposed Cuts
 


There are many opportunities to make your voice heard at upcoming rallies to stop the proposed budget cuts.
Read about two opportunities below and check out our 
calendar and website for more chances to get involved. 
 
 
May 5:

“Occupy the APA”: Participants from around the country will gather on May 5, 2012, at 10 a.m. at Friends Center, 1515 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, in a peaceful effort to call attention to the American Psychiatric Association’s misguided plans to publish a new edition of psychiatry’s “Bible,” the DSM-5, that will inevitably lead to over-prescription of psychiatric drugs, according to its many critics. At approximately 12:15, we will march to the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch Streets), where we will rally. Join us! (Occupy the APA is a big tent: participants will represent a spectrum of points of view. But we will be united by our belief that the DSM-5, which the American Psychiatric Association wants to make its next “Bible,” is not a “Good Book”!) Following are links to two sets of talking points (the first set of which was adapted from information provided by the Coalition for DSM-5 Reform, a psychologists’ organization that has amassed more than 13,000 signatures on a petition calling the DSM-5 into question):
 
http://psychrights.org/education/OccupyPsychiatry/WhyOccupyTheAPA.htm 
http://psychrights.org/Education/OccupyPsychiatry/DSM5TalkingPoints.html 

May 6:
“Imagining a Different Future in Mental Health!” Hear three inspiring speakers: Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad in AmericaJim Gottstein, Esq., founder of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights; and Jacki McKinney, MSW, award-winning advocate and trauma expert. Their presentations will be followed by a Q&A session facilitated by Joseph Rogers, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. The doors open at 1:30 p.m.; the event will begin at 2:00 p.m. It will take place in the main chapel of the Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany, 330 S. 13 Street, between Spruce and Pine streets, Philadelphia. This event is free! All are welcome! 
 
Here is a link that leads to flyers about each of the events. 

http://www.mhselfhelp.org/news/view.php?news_id=1146 
 
The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse is a consumer-run national technical assistance center funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
 
 
PMHCA’s 24th Annual Statewide Conference, Recovery Unlimited: Rising Above Challenges, will be held June 5- 7, 2012 at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel. For information about conference and registration, visit www.pmhca.org. 

 

Disclaimer
The views, opinions, and content on the Clearinghouse website and in anything posted on the website or in these e-mails or attached to these e-mails do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

No News is Not Good News

No News is Not Good News

In the case of the budget cuts proposed by Governor Corbett, no news is not good news. Despite an overwhelming public outcry and strong opposition from the public, mental health advocates, media, and legislators, Governor Corbett and his administration remain committed to enacting their drastic and devastating cuts to the community behavioral health system – the most significant since the system’s inception more than 50 years ago.

We need to continue making our opposition heard with legislators so that the budget introduced by the Governor is not passed. Below are some ways you can take immediate action.

Stay Informed

In addition to sending critical advocacy alerts, MHAPA posts daily updates and calls to action on our Facebook page and websitePlease follow us on Facebook to stay informed of budget–related events and activities across the state.

Contact Your Legislators

Contact your state representative and senator and let them know you oppose the Governor’s proposed cuts to the community behavioral health system.

The message is simple:
STOP the 20% cuts. STOP the Block Grant. STOP cuts to General Assistance.

Find your legislators here. Contact them by:
Sending A Postcard

Use a pre-printed postcard to share these simple messages with your PA House Representative and Senator and the Chairs of the Pennsylvania House and Senate Appropriations Committees. To order the free postcards, contact Sue Walther, MHAPA’s Executive Director, at717-346-0549, extension 1, or swalther@mhapa.org.  Please be sure to provide your mailing address and the number of postcards you would like. See the postcard here.

Writing a letter

Read samples letters written and sent by advocates at Community Advocates of Montgomery County. Use these samples as a guide to help you tell your own story.  Click here for talking points. Click here for the sample letters from Community Advocates.

Making a Phone Call

After sending your letter and/or postcard, call your legislators’ offices. Ask if they received your letter and what their positions are on the mental health cuts. Let MHAPA know what you learn by contacting Sue Walther at 717-346-0549, extension 1, or swalther@mhapa.org. Tell us who you spoke to and what their positions are. Click here to see a full summary of actions taken by one group of Community Advocates. If you have a like summary that you want to share, email it to Sue Walther.

Attend an Event

Advocacy organizations across the state are hosting events to bring together people against the cuts. Please gather your friends and family and attend at least one of these events. Two upcoming events are:
Monday, May 7Save PA’s Bridge to Stability & Self-Sufficiency Rally and Lobby Day in Harrisburg with PA Cares for All

Thursday, June 5Capitol Day with The Pennsylvania Community Providers Association, The Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Mental Health Association of Westmoreland County, and NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania

MHAPA updates its Facebook followers of budget related events across the area. Like us on Facebook and learn about these events—we also post them to the Budget page of our website.

Tell the Media

Send a copy of your legislator letter to your local newspaper—it makes an impact. Kathie Mitchell, Director of Community Advocates of Montgomery County, sent a letter to The Mercury in Pottstown.  The paper published it and Community Advocates received three phone calls as a result of the published letter.  

Let Us Know What You’ve Done

Let us know what action you’ve taken so we help to ensure that your voice is being heard. Contact Sue Walther at 717-346-0549, extension 1, or swalther@mhapa.org. Click here to see a full summary of actions taken by Community Advocates. If you have a similar summary to share, email it to Sue Walther.


Cuts to Mental Health Services

CALL TO ACTION!
 
CONTACT YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS
OPPOSE DEVASTATING
CUTS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
 

Governor Corbett’s proposed budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year includes devastating cuts to community mental health programs.  It is imperative that you contact your “State” Representative and Senator and urge them to restore these harmful cuts.  Let them know that persons with mental illness rely on these services to help them remain in the community, and avoid institutional settings.  We also suggest that NAMI Affiliate Presidents meet with their area state legislators in their district offices (see tips for meetings).  
 
The Governor’s budget proposes consolidating 7 programs (including community mental health services and the Behavioral Health Services Initiative) into a single, “flexible” Human Services Block Grant for counties and then slashes funding by 20%.  In addition to the 20% cut in funding, there is no guarantee that the block grant funds will be used to provide mental health services.  Legislators must vote on the Governor’s proposed budget.  
 
One of DPW’s initiatives is to reduce the number of people living in institutions and when appropriate, place them in less costly, community settings.  We applaud these efforts.  However, it is critical that legislators restore funding for community mental health services, or individuals may end up back in institutional settings, including state hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities or state prisons.  The proposed budget cuts jeopardize the lives of those who rely on community mental health services. 
 
This is a very difficult budget year and it is extremely important that you contact your legislators, tell them why community mental health services are important to you and ask them to oppose the proposed cuts.
 
The budget issues will remain active until the budget is passed by your state Representatives and Senators (usually around June 30th).  The following actions are suggested to help have an impact on changing the Governor’s recommendations for cuts to community mental health programs.

We have provided a Sample Letter which will help you to tell your story and the impact these cuts may have on your family. Personal stories are important and are a way to help illustrate for legislators and the Governor, the importance of the services targeted for cuts. For NAMI PA Affiliates and others, we have also provided an outline for requesting a meeting in local offices of local state elected officials. These meetings, are an important part of the total strategy for helping legislators to better understand the impact of the Governor’s proposed cuts.
 

http://namipa.nami.org/state_budget.htm 
 
Please open the above link to access the NAMI PA website and the resources listed below.  If you cannot open directly through link than simply go to www.namipa.nami.org and click on the “Call to Action” at the top of the page!  Thank You!
 
 
Talking Points        Sample Letter        Steps for Legislator Meetings
 
List of the Types of Services Impacted by Cuts        Overview of the Proposed Budget
 
Find your Legislator        OMHSAS budget      Governor’s budget

Take A Stand Against Budget Cuts!

Write, Email, Phone – Time to Get in Touch with Legislators!
It is crucial that the work being done in Harrisburg be accompanied by grass roots legislative work in the districts! Legislators are very interested in hearing from constituents, including providers, consumers, and families. It is important that they continue to be reminded by every means possible of the importance of maintaining access to behavioral health, intellectual disability, and autism services. While the most effective means of outreach continues to be inviting legislators to tour agencies or visiting them accompanied by families or consumers, in the all out budget assault that providers are currently experiencing, other methods of outreach need to be employed as well. 
 
Legislators’ email addresses, mail addresses, and phone numbers can be found on www.legis.state.pa.us. PCPA has developed sample language that can be used in letters or emails and budget talking points to assist in delivering the message. However, this suggested language is only part of what should be included – most important is information about how your agency serves those in the community, especially success stories if possible. The following materials may help agencies reach out to legislators through letters, phone calls, and emails. 
 

These cuts target the truly needy and will hurt individuals who should not be sacrificed during this time of limited resources, but should be among the first protected. If services to Pennsylvanians in need of mental health, intellectual disability, autism, or addiction care are to remain accessible and effective, funding must be preserved and Pennsylvania’s safety net must be protected. To avoid the devastation of Pennsylvania’s community services, it is crucially important that members take action NOW! 
 

_____________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2012 – Pennsylvania Community Providers Association
2101 N Front St, Bldg 3, Ste 200, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-364-3280 – Fax: 717-364-3287

www.paproviders.org

Tell Governor Corbett “NO MORE CUTS!”

no more cutsTell Governor Corbett “NO MORE CUTS!”
Governor Corbett Plans to Cut 20% in the Department of Public Welfare Budget
There are approximately 55,000 individuals who receive intellectual disability services in their homes and in their communities in Pennsylvania.14,852 receive services through the state-only dollars called “base funding” which is in serious jeopardy due to Governor Corbett’s proposed budget.There are another 15,779 individuals on the Waiting List to receive these services, including over 3,000 with emergency needs (aging caregivers, high risk situations) as well as 700 young men and women with an intellectual disability who will graduate from school this year….with no place to go.PAR (Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources) represents the majority of intellectual disability services and supports around the state. Within their membership, they employ 31,000 people. Because of midyear cuts to the rates providers are paid, on top of other changes in how services are funded, they are aware of at least 490 jobs that have been lost since last July and they are anticipating more.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please call, email or write Governor Corbett and express your concern over his proposed 20% budget cut.
Phone: 717-787-2500
Address: 225 Main Capital Building, Harrisburg PA 17120
Dispel the myths by telling your own story about people you serve.
Print a petition and make sure to have your signers include their address.
Contact your legislators, you can find them here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/?mobile_choice=suppress
More information is available to you at this Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/295194150552953/
Together, with a single voice, we can make a positive difference in Harrisburg.

PCPA Legislative Alert: Visit Legislators and Advocate for Community Services!

Governor Corbett will present his proposed 2012/13 state budget on February 7 and it is anticipated that the Department of Public Welfare budget may be cut. The budget will not be finalized until much later, usually by the end of June. There is significant opportunity to impact the final budget numbers by strong and effective advocacy in the districts. In the current economic climate it is more crucial than ever that community providers reach out to local legislators to educate them regarding the importance of maintaining the community safety net for constituents in need of mental health, intellectual disability, or substance use disorder services.

It is imperative that members contact legislators in their district offices to urge them to support funding mental health, intellectual disability, and substance use disorder services at a level that enables community agencies to continue to provide quality services. Visits are most effective if framed by:

  • educating legislators about your agency and the important role it plays in his or her district as both an employer and as a resource for constituents in need of services;
  • advocating for the key role of community services as a more effective and less costly modality for the provision of mental health, intellectual disability, and substance use disorder services; and
  • most importantly, how possible budget cuts impact your agency and, consequently, their constituents.

For supporting material, please review the talking points document referred to below.

Important information to highlight concerning your role as an employer includes the following.

  • The number of consumers/persons your organization serves annually.
  • The number of individuals employed by your organization. Remember that you are an employer – besides salaries, consider other rising costs (for example, increasing health care costs) at your organization. Be specific.
  • Remember that you are a business and purchaser of services – think about the amount spent on utilities (including vehicles, gasoline, phones, computers, furniture, food, postage, supplies, training, etc.). Make it clear to your legislator that your organization is vital to your community’s economy.

When contacting legislators the following materials should be shared:

It is important to note that PCPA members agree with the necessity of a balanced state budget, but not on the backs of individuals served. If services to Pennsylvanians in need of mental health, intellectual disability, autism, or addiction care are to remain accessible and effective, funding must be preserved and Pennsylvania’s safety net must be protected.  To avoid the implementation of cuts to community services, it is crucially important that members take action.

Questions and comments may be directed to George Kimes (george@paproviders.org) or Anne Leisure (anne@paproviders.org).